Developing a duty-holder assessment framework for better WHS regulatory outcomes

Research Questions 

  1. What factors identify who is at high risk of (re)offending and therefore require more regulatory attention?
  2. What factors identify what the compliance and enforcement activities should focus on to induce compliance?
  3. What factors identify how the compliance and enforcement activities are best applied to maximise impact?

What is this research about? 

The research builds on Recommendation 3 of the report Understanding effective enforcement tools in work health and safety (Centre for WHS, 2018), which was also picked up in Recommendation 21 of the Review of the model WHS laws: Final report (Boland, 2018).

The recommendations highlight the need for a decision-making framework to support a more consistent, best-practice application of the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy by regulators.

While the model law review provided WorkSafe New Zealand’s assessment framework as an example to introduce, the Centre’s report went further and recommended that compliance could be more effectively achieved if ‘duty-holder factors’ relating to individual needs, motivations and overall approach to health and safety were included as considerations during the enforcement decision-making and intervention design process.

The current project aims to learn from existing assessment frameworks and recent behavioural research to identify and test which duty-holder factors are most important to consider in order to apply more effective compliance and enforcement activities.

Timeline

March 2019 – July 2019: Stakeholder engagement and project scoping.

July 2019 – August 2020: Literature review, stakeholder engagement and draft factors identified.

September 2020 – December 2020: Testing of factors for inclusion in the offender assessment framework.

January 2021 – May 2021: Testing of interventions matched to identified factors using purposely collected data (case studies and interviews).

June 2021: Final draft of assessment framework.

What will the researchers do?

  1. Undertake a literature review exploring existing models and the latest research to develop a draft assessment framework
  2. Undertake interviews with stakeholders to ensure the draft framework is fit for purpose
  3. Test the draft framework using existing data, interviews with past offenders and case studies
  4. Revise the framework according to test results
  5. Undertake interviews with stakeholders to ensure the final framework is fit for purpose

Want to know more? 

To work with the Centre, or stay up to date with our research, head to our Engage with us page.

References

Boland (2018) Review of the model WHS laws: Final report, Safe Work Australia, ISBN 978-1-76051-601-7.

Centre for WHS (2018) Understanding effective enforcement tools in work health and safety, Centre for WHS.